The One Cow Project

I would like to raise one cow, or more correctly a steer, for beef.  I am interested is buying as little feed as possible and keeping this animal on My 10 acres.  I have read about rotational grazing and am wondering how many acres of pasture would be required for one head.  Since I live in S.E. Michigan, is there an any chance of winter grazing?  I have read about a bread called Dexter came from the Scottish Highlands and it may be able to graze outside in my climate all winter.  If I could leave enough tall grass standing in the fall I may not have to buy much feed through the winter.  At this point I am just in the thinking and research stage, maybe in a year or two I can act on it.

  • Lori Washburn

    Hi There,

    We, my better half and myself,  also live in SE Michigan. 

    With regards to keeping a cow, you will need to feed a good quality hay in our winters here; you will need  a good dry place to store the hay – and you are looking at about 80 – 100 bales per cow depending on which one you choose per winter.  A good place to start for info is to get yourself a copy of “The Joy of Keeping Farm Animals” by Laura Childs.  The book discusses choosing a cow/breeds, what to look for, where to look for a cow, training, feed, shelter, veteraniarian needs, vaccines, meat calculations, butchering times, etc.  It references chickens, goats, pigs, sheep and cows.  It is a good resource for new homesteaders to help determine needs, wants, expectations, etc Best wishes to you and yours.

  • katie

    Have you looked into growing fodder?